In November 2020, the Houston-based offshore driller Vantage Drilling reported a quarterly net loss of $169.3 million which included a non-cash loss on impairment charge of $128.9 million related to longer-term stacked drillship, the Titanium Explorer.
The company was operating a fleet of five modern jackups and three ultra-deepwater drillships, the platinium Explorer, Tungsten Explorer and Titanium Explorer.
The UK broker Clarkson Research Services recently reported that the Titanium Explorer had been sold for scrap in South Africa. The Infield Rigs Offshore Data Portal has classified the drillship as “destroyed”. The vessel was last moored near Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.
Titanium Explorer was a state-of-the-art ultra-deepwater drillship built by Daewoo at its Okpo shipyard in South Korea in 2012.
Contracted by Petrobras for eight years at a dayrate of $572,000, the unit commenced operations in the Gulf of Mexico in December 2012.
In 2014 the Titanium Explorer performed a drilling program in the North Gabon Basin and Equatorial Guinea in West Africa for Ophir.
Troubles started in July 2015 when Petrobras terminated the contract for an alleged breach of obligations including bribery. The Vantage parties immediately filed the international arbitration claim for wrongful termination of the drilling contract.
In 2019 Petrobras paid Vantage more than $700 million for early termination of the drilling vessel contract.
The Tungsten Explorer would never drill again.
The sale of such recent and prestigious vessels reflects all the uncertainties and difficulties in the deepwater drilling market.
It follows the sale in August 2020, of the Valaris DS-3, Valaris DS-5 and Valaris DS-6 built respectively in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
It may take several decades to the market to recover from the construction craze that marked the start of the 2010s.
(Source: Vantage/Clarkson/Infield rigs/Valaris – Image: Vantage Drilling)